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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 8 – Visit Finland and New York in battle for second place

April 21, 2012

Written by zuzana

Overnight, the fabulous Baja California saw a very close competing of the teams Visit Finland and New York on Day 8 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race as they battled to catch Gold Coast Australia in variable downwind conditions.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

“We’ve had an encouraging run during the last couple of days and we’re trying to keep the distance covered down to a minimum, with the big rudder blade beneath the boat being turned as little as possible,” Visit Finland’s skipper, Olly Osborne, said.

“The continual spinnaker trimming requires a lot of attention and keeping up this focus for hours on end is not always easy, but careful trimming is essential to keep the boat ghosting along in the lighter airs,” Olly added.

Over the next few days the teams will become more reliant on currents and coastal winds as they race their way towards Panama City.

On New York, Gareth Glover and his team have been working hard to keep their speed up as much as possible in the testing conditions. Despite sustaining damage to their lightweight kite after it caught on a headsail hank, the team has managed to repair it and re-hoist to ensure they have the maximum amount of sail up for the light airs.

“As we head further south we are expecting the wind to continue to drop so have decided to head inshore in the search of a sea breeze,” Gareth said, noting that the his team’s tactics remain to stay inshore and they continue to occupy the most easterly position in the fleet.

“We’ve gybed several times in an effort to make some ground east towards the Mexican coastline while still maintaining an element of south in our course,” he said.

Gold Coast Australia has maintained the lead overnight, and Richard Hewson and his team continue to search for optimum wind in an attempt to keep the opposition at bay.

After the offshore breeze they were hoping for failed to materialise, Gold Coast Australia gybed offshore to cover the fleet. However, this morning Richard reported that he is concerned that the chasing pack will get more wind and eat into their lead.

“Our unfortunate situation at the moment is the yachts behind us have more wind and unless we can reach the better pressure to the south east first our lead will continue to decrease,” Richard said.

“It is interesting to see that the fleet is all still reasonably close even after numerous different tactical strategies have come into play,” he added. A total of 82 miles currently separate the entire fleet with just under 2,000 miles left to run to the finish.

Despite the immense concentration required to ensure optimum trim and a stable spinnaker in the light conditions, the crew spirits on board Gold Coast Australia are being lifted by Mexican-themed food and abundant sea life.

“With the lighter winds crew are kept amused spotting the copious amounts of wildlife around us. Today we saw a large pod of whales on their migration north, our first sea lions lazing in the sun as well as countless dolphins chasing fish,” Richard said.

On Derry-Londonderry, Mark Light and his team are trying to claw their way up the leader board after a frustrating day in a wind hole when they lost valuable places.

“The focus is firmly on playing catch-up now and we’re trying our best to make up the miles lost over the last 24 hours,” he said.

“We’re ghosting along with hardly a sound under a perfectly clear blue sky and beautifully flat azure blue sea. This race is one very long, tactical trimming exercise and the experience that the crew has absorbed with regard to handling spinnakers, trimming, peeling and pole work will be invaluable in the weeks to come,” Mark said.

“With almost certainly the same sail plans across the fleet it is going to be a tough one to pull back but in typical Derry-Londonderry style, we will give our all,” he said.

Another less conventional tactic being employed on Derry-Londonderry is the consumption of as much food as possible. Mark explains that his team is munching its way through “mountains of food” in the hope that it will lighten the boat but only time will tell whether the team’s increased consumption will result in better performance.

Welcome to Yorkshire is managing to hold onto a spot in the top half of the leader board, and Rupert Dean reports that his team has enjoyed another day of downwind sailing under cloudless skies.

“Cruise liners feature a lot around here, most notably at the entrance to the Gulf of California, as they are attracted by the numerous pods of whales, which migrate here annually to mate. Save a few distant spouts, we’ve yet to see any close up, but have spotted several seals and sunfish,” Rupert said.

Rupert added that downwind sailing on Welcome to Yorkshire has developed into a steady routine. “Peels and gybes are interspersed with regular periods of maintenance to keep chafe at bay and our sails in good working order,” he said.

On Singapore, Ben Bowley and his team are still trying to regain the ground lost whilst dealing with a colossal kite wrap earlier in the week.

“We have settled back into the task of trying to reel in some of our competitors by ensuring fastidious kite trim and helming. Close attention to keeping in a decent band of south easterly flowing current running along the continental shelf has also been paramount, rewarding us at times with speeds over the ground in excess of 9 knots for a time,” Ben said.

Ben reported that the wind filled in nicely as his team headed inshore and felt the land effect, but they slowed up again after the sun set.

“With the winds due to go even lighter over the coming 24 hours, we will have to do something to keep Singapore moving at a slightly better pace than we have been managing,” he conceded.

On Qingdao, Ian Conchie reports that his team has been switching between their lightweight and medium weight spinnaker as they head south east towards the finish.

“Each evolution is quick and smooth as we try to make back the ground we lost last night. In the meantime the VHF radio is full of chatter between the teams and we’ve had some amazing sights today of whales broaching and turtles to keep the crew entertained in the sun,” he said.

On Geraldton Western Australia, skipper Juan Coetzer said his crew has been helping each other out and teaching each other new skills as they race towards Panama City.

Juan said his team had been taking advantage of the flat conditions to carry out more running maintenance including stripping the cars off the deck and giving them a service.

The Geraldton Western Australia team has also been reflecting on what they have achieved as they race their way around the globe on a Clipper 68. “How do you finish off a perfect week? You put your blazer on, gather the crew and make a toast to Neptune and our achievements and successes in life,” Juan said.

On Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, Flavio Zamboni and his team have enjoyed a light but pretty steady north-westerly breeze for the last 24 hours but their offshore position has failed to help their standing within the fleet.

“Staying further offshore hasn’t really paid off and we’re now chasing the fleet,” Flavio said.

“But morale on board is high, and the crew is enjoying racing and the weather is glorious,” he added.

On De Lage Landen, Stuart Jackson reports that his team has experienced “another day in paradise” after picking up the maximum three points on offer at the Scoring Gate.

“After a couple of days of wonderful sailing, we have already witnessed a some of the most amazing sights we’ve had in the entire race to date. Sporadic pods of dolphins and whales fill the deck with laughter and excitement time and time again,” Stuart said.

“Racing in those conditions is a beautiful reward after the relentless pounding the fleet endured last leg. But the weather conditions might seem misleading, as we are still pushing the yacht to the limit in order to get the results we are looking for,” he added.

The fleet is expected to arrive in Panama City between 9 and 10 May.

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Audi Azzurra Sailing Team wins two out of three races today at Palma Vela

April 20, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

Today was an exceptional day for Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, achieving two victories in the three races taken place at Palma Vela.

Azzurra Team - Image credit Azzurra:Jesus Renedo

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team - Image credit Azzurra-Jesus Renedo

It was also a very long and demanding day on the water with the last race held almost at sunset. Azzurra scored two clear victories in the first and third race and crossed the finish line in third place in the second race. The day was marked by a fresh breeze between 15 and 18 knots and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team dominated the fleet with a combination of flawless crew work and impeccable tactical calls. The brand new Azzurra TP52 by Audi didn’t suffer from any gear failure,  following yesterday’s rough start in lumpy seas and strong breeze. Azzurra is currently sitting in second place, tied with Ran on equal points, a mere two points behind the provisional leader, Quantum Racing.

“Of course today was markedly better than yesterday – stated the  skipper Guillermo Parada – these first two victories are important and promising for the future.”

“The boat sails very well – added the tactician Checco Bruni – and we are really happy with her speed. It must be stressed that our opponents are all very strong, so we need to get a clean start and then be able to handle the rest of each race without any errors.”

52 SAILING SERIES 2012

Barcelona, Trofeo Conde de Godò May 23rd – 27th

Porto Cervo, Audi Sardinia Cup June 11th – 17th

Palma de Majorca, Royal Cup                               July 11th – 14th

Palma de Majorca, Copa del Rey                          July 16th – 21st (IRC scoring)

Valencia Cup                                                       September 18th – 22nd

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Double Star Cup won by The Wave Muscat at the Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 in Qingdao

April 20, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

Leigh McMillan and his crew secure the victory in Qingdao in the Extreme Sailing Series Act 2, with Red Bull sailing team in the 2nd place and the Group Edmond de Rothschild fighting for the 3rd place against the GAC Pindar team from Britain.

The Wave, Muscat celebrating at the end of racing on the final day of Act 2

The Wave, Muscat celebrating at the end of racing on the final day of Act 2 Qingdao - Photo Lloyds Images

An ecstatic Leigh McMillan and his crew on board The Wave, Muscat won Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series with a race to spare, a feat rarely achieved on the circuit, and move into the lead for the overall Series. But, after 29 races watched by over 55,000 spectators, it came down to the final double points decider to determine who would stand next to the Omani team on the podium. After a fairly disastrous start to the day, Hagara’s hopes of challenging for first place were gone but Red Bull Sailing Team got their act together in the last three races to clinch 2nd place, in what is there first event podium position since Muscat 2011. After starting the day in fifth place, the all-French Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were the comeback kings today, steadily toppling their opponents to claim the final spot on podium.

There were a few anxious faces on the dock this morning as the weather forecasters predicted the same conditions as that fateful day in 2011 that saw an incredible four capsizes. The wind built gradually throughout the day but the effects of the low weather system only began touching the Extreme 40 fleet on Fushan Bay in the final double points race, with increasing poor visibility from the ever encroaching rain clouds.

The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory - Image credit Lloyds Images

The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory - Image credit Lloyds Images

The Wave, Muscat came out fighting and made their intentions clear from the first start gun – winning the opening race of the day. Going into the final double points race, and to his surprise, McMillan had an untouchable lead. “We are thrilled to have won here in Qingdao and to have a second and a first place for the first two events is very good stuff for us. We weren’t necessarily expecting to win here. It’s been a tight competition and Red Bull Sailing Team have been performing very well this week and always getting closer and closer, and pushing us harder and harder.”

Everybody’s eyes were on the four teams who were in contention for second place going into the final race, with only 6 points separating them. It was the Danish entry, SAP Extreme Sailing Team who won the race – a repeat of their final race win performance in Act 1 in Muscat – whilst Hagara’s men held their nerve, and position, to finish second. It was a hard day on the water for the Austrians who at one stage looked like they had lost hope of finishing on the podium as they slipped to fifth place. The team, who sat top of the podium for the first two days in Qingdao, were toppled by The Wave, Muscat yesterday and today they seemed to be continuing on the downward trend until the final three races which finally saw Hagara get back in the game. “The whole team is really happy especially as we were leading the first two days then we had a really bad third day. The last day the beginning was really hard for us and we made some really bad decisions on the racecourse so ending up in 2nd place on the podium is great for us and the whole team really deserved it because we pushed really hard.”

Red Bull Sailing Team flies a hull on day 4 - the final day of racing in Qingdao - Image credit Lloyds Images

Red Bull Sailing Team flies a hull on day 4 - the final day of racing in Qingdao - Image credit Lloyds Images

A fourth for Groupe Edmond de Rothschild in the final race also secured their place on the podium: “Before the last race we could have ended second or sixth overall so I feel satisfied about our third position because we are on the podium again,” said skipper of the French favourites.“We know that this is what we must do to win the Championship.”

It wasn’t all celebrations today and a frustrated Ian Williams on board GAC Pindar was narrowly denied a podium finish, which has so far eluded the British sailor: “It was a shame for us… The last race really didn’t go our way – it was tough with Mark Ivey’s sickness and the change of crew halfway through today so we lost our rhythm a little bit. But on the positive side to be doing the last race in with a shot of second overall so we’re pleased with the week overall, just a little bit disappointed at the end.”

Co-organised by the Qingdao Yachting Association, China’s ‘City of Sailing’ has once again demonstrated how they became such a successful Olympic sailing venue. Staging a flawless event with a spectacular opening ceremony, an inclusive social programme for schools and public, and a grand closing ceremony that even the rain could not dampen.

Next step of the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series, Act 3 Istanbul 7th-10th June.

Performers at Act 2 closing ceremony - Image credit Lloyds Images

Performers at Act 2 closing ceremony - Image credit Lloyds Images

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 2, Qingdao, China overall standings after Day 4, 29 races (20.4.12)

Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan / Ed Smyth / Pete Greenhalgh / Hashim Al Rashdi / Rachel Williamson 189 points

2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matthew Adams / Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 174 points

3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Romain Petit 171 points
4th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley / Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 164 points

5th Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree / Nasser Al Mashari / Max Bulger 162 points

6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron / Philippe Mourniac / Jean-Sébastien Ponce / Bruno Jeanjean / Patrick Aucour 158 points

7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen / Rasmus Kostner / Pete Cumming / Christian Kamp / Jonas Hviid 130 points

8th Alinghi (SUI), Pierre-Yves Jorand / Tanguy Cariou / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / Charles Favre 129 points

9th China Team (CHN) Phil Robertson / Garth Ellingham / Kit Cheng / Nick Catley / Xiaqun Song 74 points

Extreme Sailing Series 2012, Series standings after 2 Acts

Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 points

2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) 16 points

3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 16 points

4th Oman Air (OMA) 16 points

5th GAC Pindar (GBR) 13 points

6th ZouLou (FRA) 10 points

7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 7 points

8th Alinghi (SUI), 7 points

Local fans brave the rain to get a chance to watch the Extreme-40s racing on the final day in Qingdao

Local fans brave the rain to get a chance to watch the Extreme-40s racing on the final day in Qingdao - Credit: Lloyd Images

Sailor quotes

Pierre Pennec, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild

“Before the last race we could have ended second or sixth overall so I feel satisfied about our third position because we are on the podium again. We know that this is what we must do to win the Championship. What is difficult here is to be consistent. We feel that we have overcome some weaknesses over the last few days and this shows that we have improved and this is important for communication and the work on board. We still have a very important point to work on for the next Act: the starts. The other positive element is that we always manage to climb up spots when we have bad starts, which shows the good work on board, especially in these short races with shifty winds. I would like to congratulate The Wave, Muscat for their great performance over these last four days. Their victory is clear and deserved. We knew that they would be among our adversaries for 2012 season and this confirms our thoughts. We will have to keep an eye on them!”

Hervé Cunningham, mainsail trimmer, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild:

“It was a tough battle to get that result which is just an okay result for us considering where we were at the beginning but regarding who is ahead I wonder if that is enough for us for the goal of the season. But we are still early in the season so we know what we have to do.“

Ramus Kostner, co-skipper SAP Extreme Sailing Team:

“We are still improving all the time and some of our starts were good, and we were able to hold on to our positions so that was really good. When we get in front it looks like we can stay there… All in all we’re pretty happy with our result not to finish last or second last in our second event here in Qingdao.”

Morgan Larson, Oman Air

“All in all we sailed a decent regatta, we are just a little disappointed with the last couple of races but the guys did a good job and we hung tough. We didn’t have good starts and made some tactical errors that cost us some points and this is a challenging venue.

“We are comfortable now on the boat and feeling that we are with the fleet and we are competitive and we want to be in the top three at every event so we are disappointed with our result here and just have to come back in Istanbul and get back into the top two or three.”

Phil Robertson, China Team

“Our first event here has been a challenge. We have trying to come to grips with the boats and the overall set up. This has been the biggest thing we have learnt and how to make the boat go fast. Today came a bit better. We tuned the boat a little better and we had a bit more speed so today was much better.

“It’s been very good competition here in Qingdao and probably higher than we expected. We are very impressed with the whole organisation and the very short courses. This is definitely a new step for us and a different challenge. We are very happy about how it all went and are keen to come back.”

Pierre-Yves Jorand, Alinghi

“It has been a tough and a little frustrating regatta for us but the conditions were good and sailing was fantastic with very tight results at the end. Qingdao offers a great race course for the Series with reaching starts, up and down legs and the finishing line close to the shore offer a fantastic show to the competitors and spectators. Even the best teams had bad races so at the end the team that made the least number of mistakes won the event and such was the case last year and so far this year. We have to come back for the next event with a different strategy.”

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Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg aims for top five finish at Mapfre Palma Vela

April 20, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

The Gazprom sponsored Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec from the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg had another chance to race in excellent race conditions in Bay of Palma, with winds once again above 15 knots.

Mapfre PalmaVela 2012 - Image Credit MartinezStudio

Mapfre PalmaVela 2012 - Image Credit MartinezStudio

Day two finished with a 6th place in Race 3, followed by a 7th position in Race 4.  The first race registered excellent boat speed from the team aboard Bronenosec who led the competing Swan 60, Emma from Germany round the race track until the final leg into the finish line.

In the second race of the day, the Russian / Italian team unfortunately became becalmed by a patch of limited wind which pulled the Swan 60 back from 20 seconds to be behind by 4 minutes, showing in their final placing.

Tomasso Chieffi, with 17 previous World Championship titles to his name, has a lot of professional knowledge to provide the team with this campaign and is committed to working on a top five overall result for the end of the event.

“Today we had a good first race leading Emma all the way and only just lost it at the end, so I do think we as a team have the capability to pull back to 5th overall by the last day.  It is always a challenge at the start of a new campaign when racing against similar yachts that have a few more seasons of experience racing as a set team than ourselves.  Personally I think we were sailing a lot better in many aspects compared to yesterday and I am pleased to have another two solid races on the score board, we are definitely improving each time we race together and the morning debriefs are helping us to correct any mistakes we pick up on”.

Only a matter of  6 points separates positions 4th to 7th on the leader board, Swan 60, Bronenosec is now 7th overall in the competitive Mini Maxi fleet. She sits a mere 1 point behind 6th place and 2.5 points behind 5th position and is therefore in a strong position to pull back into the top 5.

The team are looking forward to lighter airs tomorrow for the long distance race.  This will be a complete change in racing style for the helm, Vladimir Liubomirov, and will provide both the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg Commodore as well as his fellow race crew with a new dimension to race against the International sailing stars.

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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 7 – De Lage Landen wins

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Overnight, on the Day 7 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, when the leading team decided to forego possible Scoring Gate points in favour of an inshore course as well as stronger winds, the Gold Coast Australia team has taken the lead.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit Abner KingmanonEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

With the ten teams now one week into the 5,500-mile leg from California to New York via the Panama Canal, Richard Hewson and his team are hoping their decision will pay dividends in the long term as they close in on the finish line of Race 10.

Skipper of Gold Coast Australia, Richard Hewson, said his team opted for a “bold move” yesterday to sail closer to the shore than any other yacht in the fleet. “The crew worked well today and sailed the boat very well in the light conditions trying to improve our position on the leader board,” he said. For the moment, the hard work has paid off and the team has now moved into pole position.

Out in front, the team on Gold Coast Australia has been enjoying the abundant sea life in the area. “The wildlife close to the Mexican coast is amazing and today we have seen numerous groups of dolphin, a turtle, a pod of whales, flying fish, squid and schools of large pelagic fish,” Richard said.

Yesterday Richard and his team voted to disregard the Scoring Gate in favour of sailing their own course in order to focus on the bigger picture.

“As we approached the Scoring Gate it appeared to be already full with De Lage Landen, Qingdao and Welcome to Yorkshire all about to cross…It will be interesting to view the results over the next few days to see if our inshore tactics pay off,” Richard added.

Stuart Jackson and his crew on De Lage Landen were the first to reach the Scoring Gate at 22:56:56 UTC last night to claim the maximum three points on offer to the first team to cross the line between 24 N and 113 50 W and 24 N and 113 W.

Welcome to Yorkshire was the second team through the Scoring Gate at 00:07:41 this morning, just over an hour after the Dutch team, to secure two points. Qingdao managed to clinch the remaining point on offer by reaching the Scoring Gate third at 00:29:00.

As the Scoring Gate is not a compulsory mark of the course some teams opted to forego the additional points on offer in order to stay in the narrow corridor of inshore wind in the hope of securing a better overall result.

Despite being pipped to the maximum Scoring Gate points by De Lage Landen, Rupert Dean on Welcome to Yorkshire reports that its been “one of those halcyon days” for his team with blue skies, sunshine, warm weather and pleasant downwind sailing conditions. He reports smiles all round as Welcome to Yorkshire sails on “a magic carpet flat sea”.

The last 48 hours have proved very tense on Welcome to Yorkshire, as the team battled to secure valuable points, and Rupert reports that the added pressure has focused his team no end.

In order to maximise their chances of securing the extra points, the team specialised several roles on board as they approached the Scoring Gate in a close battle with De Lage Landen and Qingdao.

“Pinpoint helming, zealous trimming, perfectly executed gybes and peels of our kites have all made their mark and everyone on board has reason to be proud of their contribution to our success,” Rupert said.

Qingdao’s efforts to reach the Scoring Gate were hampered by damage to the team’s medium weight spinnaker. Skipper Ian Conchie reports that he was called on deck to find the foot of the sail had caught on the pulpit resulting in a five-metre rip across the bottom.

The team quickly got the damaged sail down and hoisted their lightweight, in order to fix the torn sail with Dacron sticky tape.

“We continued to head for the gate but couldn’t quite go fast enough to beat De Lage Landen and Welcome to Yorkshire,” Ian said.

On Geraldton Western Australia, Juan Coetzer and his team just missed out on the Scoring Gate points but they report that they had Qingdao in their sights.

“Well done Qingdao, you have managed this time, but we have a visual on you and my crew is focused,” Juan said. He adds that the light winds have allowed for some maintenance to be carried out and the crew are taking good care of the 68-foot yacht that has become their home as they race 40,000 miles around the world.

For Stuart Jackson and his team on De Lage Landen, crossing the Scoring Gate was “a fairly sedate affair” despite being first and claiming the maximum three points on offer.

The team had little more than five or six knots of boat speed all day, as they gybed their way towards Panama whilst managing to keep challenges from Welcome to Yorkshire and Qingdao at bay.

“The points will be very welcome after our tough race on Leg 6 but now we need to concentrate on maintaining our position and catching those who have sailed a different course around the Scoring Gate,” Stuart said.

New York is another team to sail a course outside the non-compulsory Scoring Gate, and has opted to sail inshore of the rest of the fleet. Currently in second place, behind Gold Coast Australia, Gareth Glover and his team will be hoping that their easterly tactics will keep them at the front of the fleet.

“Being more inshore than the rest of the fleet we sacrificed any chance of any Scoring Gate points, We’re now working on the overall plan to get us a top-three finish,” Gareth said.

“We hope in the next few days that our position closer to land will give us a better chance of more wind than the teams further offshore but it may come down to the luck of the gods who gets the wind,” he added.

Gareth reports that his team has cross-gybed with Visit Finland and has also been joined by a pod of whales, sunfish and dolphins as they head south.

On Visit Finland, Olly Osborne reports that his team has enjoyed a “great day’s sailing” and he reflects that it is hard to believe it is the same ocean that gave the fleet such a battering so recently.

“We were treated to a show of all sorts of marine life as we tracked down the steep contours of the Continental Ledge this afternoon, including a large group of sperm whales which came close up to the boat as we ghosted along beneath our lightweight spinnaker,” Olly said.

“I was concerned that we might hit one at first, but at the last minute they dived beneath us and disappeared with their small calves close by them. Such an encounter with these massive creatures is probably very rare and I am sure it will be one of the highlights of the journey for a lot of us,” Olly said.

Olly is another of the skippers who has opted for the inshore route sacrificing a shot at the extra mid-race points on offer. “We’re hoping that our decision to forego a run at the scoring gate for a more inshore route will pay off, and we’re hoping to make the best use of the coastal winds,” he said.

Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital are battling to make up ground after dealing with monumental spinnaker wraps.

Flavio Zamboni on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital sais his team has been doing a lot of downwind work including kite peels for the last 24 hours to keep the boat moving at the best possible speed and angle in very light airs. The team passed through the Scoring Gate, but failed to pick up any points as they had all being claimed by the time they reached it.

With more of the same weather forecast over the next few days, Flavio said his team is focused on trying to avoid windless patches.

On Singapore, Ben Bowley and his team spent over ten hours trying to coax down their wrapped kite using the full range of “pulling, tugging, gybing, teasing, swearing, sweating and tears” to try to get the vast sail free of the rigging.

Even four hours of nocturnal rig acrobatics failed to release the monster wrap, but finally the team managed to wrestle the “big white snake” back onto the deck.

“The whole episode has really helped to forge a strong, determined, harmonious and good-humored team out of a crew of two watches. I am immensely impressed with every single person’s efforts over the last 24 hours and feel that as a unit, we are better prepared for overcoming future challenges that are bound to present themselves further down the track,” Ben said.

“We have inevitably lost much ground to our competitors and I had hoped to have been further inshore by this stage of the race but the good news is that we are moving swiftly again in the right direction,” Ben added.

Mark Light and his team on Derry-Londonderry have also experienced a testing 24 hours. This morning Mark summed it up as the team’s “most frustrating day of the race so far”.

Despite lying in a healthy second place yesterday with high hopes of securing Scoring Gate points, the team emerged from Stealth Mode to discover they’d lost the wind in the central patch they occupied while the teams to the west and the east pulled ahead.

“We have sailed well and haven’t done anything wrong but our tactics have proven to be less than satisfactory. We are having to rethink our game plan and concentrate even harder on the job of clawing our way back up the fleet once again,” Mark said.

“Luckily for us, this is something that we are very used to and also very good at. With morale and teamwork very good on board we are still thinking of a successful finish to this race but a little shove in the right direction from Mother Nature would be a great help to us and would also be massively appreciated at this stage in the proceedings!” Mark added.

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The number of J-Class Superyachts attending the UK Regattas revised

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Coming last of the four Js at this year´s St Barths Regatta, the 42m sailing yacht Hanuman was unfortunately withdrawn from the 2012 UK regattas. Due to the owner´s business elsewhere in June, the 130ft charter yacht Endeavour cannot attend the Falmouth Regatta either, so only four yachts are expected to compete and not the six as being planned for.

J-Class Superyachts

J-Class Superyachts

Even though this is a big disappointment, four of these massive yachts sailing in Falmouth bay will still offer a spectacular sight – not to be missed.

The 39m superyacht Velsheda is due to arrive in Falmouth within seven days. Her support ship MY Bystander has already arrived. The 41.55m charter yacht Ranger will very shortly berth in Ocean Village, Southampton, before repositioning to Falmouth by early June. The new 40m yacht Rainbow, launched just before Christmas 2011, is now on sail trials in Holland in preparation for the event. She will be supported by the 57 metre ship, MV Holland. The 43.4m sailing yacht Lionheart is also scheduled to arrive in Falmouth shortly.

The Js are planning to leave at the end of the Falmouth event, and reposition at Solent Refit, in preparation for the Solent regattas. The luxury yacht Endeavour is currently still planning to compete, together with the other four yachts, making a fleet of five.

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The new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team TP52 yacht making her debut at the Mapfre Palma Vela

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

The Audi Azzurra Sailing Team´s brand new sailing yacht TP52 made her debut this morning on the opening day of the Mapfre Palma Vela. The fresh breeze of more than 20 knots and the big swell created quite challenging conditions for the TP52 yacht, designed by Botín.

The new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team´s TP52 yacht

The new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team´s TP52 yacht - Photo by Azzurra/Jesus Renedo

Tough conditions are certainly not ideal for a recently-launched yacht but this forms part of the game in sailing and racing. The stress test on the new Azzurra did not put into evidence any significant problems but caused merely some minor damages to the numerous pieces of sophisticated hardware that make up a top-level racing yacht such as the latest generation TP52’s. The Audi Azzurra Sailing Team is taking part in PalmaVela precisely because the TP52 Class chose this as a training and tune up event in view of the 52 Sailing Series that kicks off in May in Barcelona. The main aim is to learn and develop the boat and not so much the results in each race.

“It was a useful day – confirmed strategist Vasco Vascotto – we came here exactly for that reason. Today we had a number of failures, something that is absolutely normal for a boat that has been just launched, and we are happy to be able to remedy now and not run the risk to do it later on, during the proper circuit. Having said that, we still need to get the feeling of the new boat, we made more than one error today and one never stops improving.”

The day’s two races were won, respectively, by Ran and Quantum, while Azzurra TP52 yacht by Audi finished the day in third place, in a fleet unfortunately small in numbers, with four yachts competing, but with a technical and competitive level clearly surpassing the top-notch standards set in the previous season.

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Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta: Day 1 – Consistent Results for Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg´s Swan 60 yacht Bronenosec

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

The first day of the Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta brought consistent results for the Mini Maxi Class Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec, belonging to the Russia´s Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg. It is the first official race for the new Bronenosec yacht and her team.

Bronenosec yacht competing in the Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta

Bronenosec yacht competing in the Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta Credit: MartinezStudio.es

With 1,000 sailors taking part in this year’s regatta, some of the world’s leading sailing talent can be found on the race track and coupled with strong winds of 24 to 25 knots provided a good challenge for the Swan 60 by Nautor Swan to launch into her first campaign.

The cosmopolitan team worked consistently together in order to generate a 5th place in Race One and then followed on consistently with a 6th place in Race Two.

Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec

Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec Credit: MartinezStudio.es

Skipper, Tomasso Chieffi, is positive commenting on the Swan 60 yacht Bronenosec’s performance today: “The team worked in a very efficient manner today. We are still tweaking the Swan 60 due to it being a new race boat this season and are working to maintain our consistent standard across all wind conditions.  Our overall boat speed is similar to that of Swan 60 yacht Emma who are currently in 3rd place overall so we have some good competition over the next couple of days to look forward to and will be aiming to improve upon our results.”

The team returned to Palma all smiling and helm, Vladimir Liubomirov also Commodore at the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg was congratulated on return to shore for his performance at the wheel in strong winds. With only one ripped spinnaker, there was limited boat repair activity post racing. The Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg’s entry now sits 5th overall in the Mini Maxi Class with racing scheduled daily until April 21st.

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TBS partners with the MOD70 circuit and the Multi One Attitude Foundation

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Multi One Design SA, promoter of the MOD70 circuit, together with the Multi One Attitude Foundation as well as TBS are all pleased to reveal their fascinating new eco-friendly and ethically committed collaboration, which has been signed to span the next two years from 2012-2014. Top clothing and footwear brand TBS have signed an agreement to create and distribute three eco designed exclusive themed collections.

TBS partners with the MOD70 circuit and the Multi One Attitude Foundation

TBS partners with the MOD70 circuit and the Multi One Attitude Foundation

Three ‘responsible’ collections:

The TBS for MULTI ONE CHAMPIONSHIP collection will equip the organization and will encompass a line of products dedicated to the various events on the circuit comprising KRYS OCEAN RACE, the MOD70 European Tour and the Ocean World Tour. These clothes will be also be sold in keynote positions in the race villages at Multi One Championship events and via internet.

The TBS for RACE FOR WATER by the Multi One Attitude Foundation collection will be distributed on the racing circuit, but also particulary in dedicated areas within TBS stores through its sales network and on the internet. Profits from the sale of this collection will be used to develop outreach initiatives, education and act on two main aims of the Foundation, namely preservation of the ocean by countering plastics pollution, and freshwater preservation by optimising water resources management.

And the lifestyle collection, directly drawn from these two collections, will also be designed and delivered by TBS.

The Living Sea: a philosophy applied to products today

For over 30 years, the core values that have underpinned the TBS brand have remained the same: to maintain a high level of quality, performance and technical specification, all embodied by original designs. All TBS footwear and apparel collections are researched, designed and developed in line with these fundamental values. The brand will complement the Foundation’s work and image seeking to develop products and production methods that are more sustainable and further enhance their commitments to ethical and environmental values. With the three collections, TBS is committed to working in eco-friendly, creative and innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact.

Through this approach, TBS wants to highlight more than ever it’s affinity for the Ocean and sailing world. The strap line “Living Sea”, now takes on an even more relevant meaning.

More than branded product lines, an eco friendly collaboration.

Eric Lairet, Director General of the brand TBS: “It’s an incredibly natural alliance! For over 30 years the history of TBS has been written around the nautical world. We have also been fortunate to be joined by the most renowned skippers … And even today! TBS’ endorsement continues with Michel Desjoyeaux. More than signature “products”, this partnership demonstrates our willingness to take on, across our operations, the major environmental challenges that are ocean conservation and the fight to reduce water footprint. We know that we can all make more efforts in this area! TBS is committed through the creation of eco-designed lines. TBS absolute dream for the future? To become a recognised ‘blue’ brand.”

Anne-Cecile Turner, Director of the Multi One Attitude Foundation: “The Multi One Attitude Foundation , that uses sailing to bring people together to protect water, is an ideal partner for TBS. The brand will build on the  Foundation’s work and  image to develop products and production methods that are environmentally sustainable. The profits from the sale of the collection RACE FOR WATER will be used to develop initiatives, education and action around two major water challenges: ocean plastic pollution and water footprint reduction.”

Franck David, Executive Director of Multi One Design: “We are very proud to join the Multi One Championship with TBS whose history is so strongly linked to sailing. Pioneers in many fields, TBS has always led the way for 30 years, partnering with so many renowned sailors. To have at our side, a dynamic brand that is focused on international development and who understands and shares our values, means that we can only go forward together!”

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2nd Rolex Volcano Race, May 19-25, 2012

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

The second edition of the Rolex Volcano Race taking place from May 19 to 25, 2012 in the Tyrrhenian Sea is supposed to welcome twenty-two Maxi yachts measuring more than 18.29m/60ft in length. This popular race marks the start of Rolex’s fascinating Mediterranean yachting season.

Swan 90 sailing yacht DSK PIONEER INVESTMENTS

Swan 90 sailing yacht DSK PIONEER INVESTMENTS Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

In contrast to last year’s inaugural event when one race took place, three segments will be contested, commencing in the form of a day’s inshore racing on Saturday 19 May in Gaeta, a seaport on the Italian mainland located approximately halfway between Rome and Naples. During the second segment, beginning on Sunday 20 May, the fleet tackle Leg One of the 400-nautical mile offshore race, a 100-nautical mile voyage from Gaeta to Capri through the Pontine Islands. On arriving in Capri, the fleet will berth on the island for the night of Monday 21 May before attacking the most arduous segment of the week the following day. A 300-nautical mile adventure around the volcanic, UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands awaits. The overall winner of this last section will take the plaudits at the finish line back in Capri, receiving the coveted Rolex Trophy and timepiece during the traditional Rolex party at the iconic La Canzone del Mare.

18.57m WILD JOE yacht

18.57m WILD JOE yacht Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

An intriguing contest is ahead. Of the 22 registered entrants, 11 different nationalities are represented. The bulk of the fleet is formed of Mini Maxi yachts measuring 18.29-24.08 metres in length. Nine of the 13 crews that took part in last year’s inaugural race have committed to return: the rise in the size of the fleet and high volume of returning crews proves the race is an enticing prospect.

Of the larger yachts, Filip Balcaen’s 112ft sailing yacht Nilaya (BEL), launched last year, will be amongst the most eye-catching craft. With experienced tactician Bouwe Bekking calling the shots the crew impressed in winning the Supermaxi class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in 2011. Close competition is guaranteed in the shape of Claus-Peter Offen’s 100ft Wally superyacht Y3K (GER), winner of its category for three straight years at the same event, in the hands of a honed and savvy crew who have enjoyed sustained success for over a decade.

18m luxury yacht GRANDE ORAZIO

18m luxury yacht GRANDE ORAZIO Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Not only is Offen owner and skipper of the luxury yacht Y3K, he also acts as President of the International Maxi Association (IMA), the event organisers, and is therefore particularly enthusiastic about the event. “In terms of the environment, the race course takes us to one of the most enthralling sailing areas in the world,” he explains. “We are all looking forward to this event and finishing in Capri will be very exciting.”

“Wherever we are competing in the Mediterranean there is tremendous competition. The Rolex Volcano Race will be no exception,” continues Offen. “I expect rather light to moderate winds. Under these conditions tactical decisions will play an important role – as will a little bit of luck. This race takes us through the night with tricky, thermal wind conditions resulting from the changing land and sea breezes. A big lead can turn into a big loss in no time. You have to be cool and patient.”

RP Custom 60 yacht WILD JOE

RP Custom 60 yacht WILD JOE Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

As is form at an IMA event, there will be a significant presence of Swan yachts. Six are set to feature. One of these is returning entrant, Danilo Salsi’s DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA), the consistent sailing yacht Swan 90 and another class winner at last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and sure to benefit from the experience of the 2011 race when she was the closest rival to eventual winners Alegre (GBR). The array of international crews also features Armeigin 3 (POR), Arobas (FRA), Bronenosec (RUS), Caol Ila (USA), E1 (AUT), Jethou (GBR), Vertical Smile (DEN) and Wild Joe (HUN). Twelve Italian crews complete the roster including Ernesto Gismondi’s Wally 65 Edimetra yacht, a regular on the Rolex sailing circuit, and Marco Rodolfi’s elegant Swan 80 yacht Berenice Bis featuring a crew that performed both at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2011.

Swan 60 yacht VERTICAL SMILE

Swan 60 yacht VERTICAL SMILE Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

A fascinating contest is in store, comprising a finely-matched, balanced fleet with navigators and tacticians – including former America’s Cup sailors of the calibre of Brad Butterworth, Tommaso Chieffi and Tiziano Nava – currently preparing in earnest for the various meteorological challenges that await them when negotiating Europe’s most volcanic region.

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